SMART DEVICES

Hong Kong tech firm ConvenientPower unveils world's first wireless charger for smart devices with metal cases

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 September, 2015, 7:31am
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 June, 2018, 3:17pm

A Hong Kong technology company has launched the world's first wireless charging platform for mobile devices with metal cases, cutting the last cord that limits mobility for many of today's premium smartphones and media tablets.

ConvenientPower, based at the Hong Kong Science Park, announced that milestone in San Francisco, California, this week with its development of "WoW(me)", a wireless charging transmitter pad for both metal and non-metal mobile electronics gadgets.

"This accelerates the range of design and waterproof possibilities for mobile electronics, such as wearables, smartphones and computing devices," said Camille Tang, the president and co-founder of ConvenientPower. 

Until now, charging a device with a metal exterior has been incompatible with various wireless charging technologies available in the market. Smartphone designers, for example, had to choose between building a premium handset incorporating metal or a non-metal device that can support wireless charging.

Tang first publicly mentioned ConvenientPower's efforts towards this breakthrough in wireless charging at the South China Morning Post's Game Changers Forum 3 event last week.

She said the milestone was made possible by the company's close collaboration with mobile chip giant Qualcomm and its subsidiary Qualcomm Technologies, which engineered a solution called WiPower that allows wireless charging for mobile devices with metal cases.

WiPower meets the Rezence standard, a wireless power-transfer specification developed by the Alliance for Wireless Power based on so-called near-field magnetic resonance technology. 

According to Qualcomm, WiPower would enable consumer electronics manufacturers to embed the technology in a range of surfaces and applications, such as cars, furniture and hotel rooms, in an efficient and simple-to-use manner.

ConvenientPower's WoW(me) wireless charging pad maintains all the properties of Rezence-certified transmitters, including the ability to charge multiple devices with various power requirements, simultaneously, through different surfaces.

"Having ConvenientPower follow up so quickly with a companion solution gets this technology that much closer to consumers," said Steve Pazol , the general manager of wireless charging operations at Qualcomm. 

"We never anticipated the level of excitement this would generate." 

Established in 2006, ConvenientPower designs and develops wireless charging solutions - reference designs, modules and chipsets - across multiple fields including consumer electronics, automotive, medical systems and commercial infrastructure.

"We are the first Hong Kong company to have initiated a global technology standard," Tang said last week.

That standard is "Qi", an open wireless charging specification promoted by the Wireless Power Consortium. Tang serves as a co-chair of the consortium, which has more than 200 corporate members in 20 countries.

Tang had earlier predicted this year to represent "an inflection point for wireless power growth".

Technology research firm IHS has forecast shipments of wireless power receivers packaged with mobile phones are expected to exceed 120 million units this year. 

In the wearable electronics market, shipments of wireless charging receivers are expected to rise to more than 20 million units this year. 

The Apple Watch is projected to take a dominant share of more than 70 per cent of total revenue in wireless-charging-enabled wearable devices.